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Islands of Calm

I love the Danish concept of hygge, a word which describes belonging, harmony, warmth, contentment and cosiness. There is a book I read every year in the autumn and winter months which is titled 'Hygge', by Louisa Thomsen Brits. Not only is it a beautiful book to look at and hold, but the words are like a warm blanket, drawing me in as the nights get darker and colder.

In the book Lousia talks about 'islands of calm', where she states that 'Hygge is not about removing ourselves but about pleasure, presence and participation. It's not about complete freedom but the understanding that if we are to wholeheartedly participate in life, we are entitled to small islands of calm. If we only have half an hour to spare, we can still light a candle, cradle a mug of warm tea in both hands and read one chapter of a book. In the acceptance of the limitations that life imposes on us and in knowing that we can choose our attitude in any given circumstance and make the best of our situation, we throw open the window to hygge."

This week I will be consciously choosing my attitude, to throw open my own windows to hygge and find these islands of calm. To prompt me I have written a list of small islands of calm that take less than half an hour and bigger islands that take longer to enjoy.

Small Islands:

Stepping outside into my garden, barefoot (weather depending).

Sitting in the silence of my house, when the children are in bed.

Doing one thing at a time.


Looking outside the window and watching the sky/birds/trees/weather.

Writing by hand on paper.

Enjoying a good cup of coffee.

Deadheading my flowers or watering my plants.

Lighting a scented candle.

Bigger Islands:

A hot bath, candles and a good book.

A good book, and a hot water bottle in bed.

A good book, sunshine and a cold glass of rosé...there's a pattern emerging here!

Walking in the hills behind my house - first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening.

Sitting by our fire pit in the garden at night.

Sitting by open water.

Riding my bike.

Making pancakes.

Now it is your turn - what are your islands of calm - are they big or small? I'd love to hear about how you reset yourself, take a moment and bring a sense of calm into your world. You can write your thoughts below and on my Instagram @iamsarahalexcarter and if you would like to receive a lovely post in your inbox each Monday subscribe and join our growing community of readers.

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